The Nation or Marabou / 14ymedio, Elvira Fernandez
Posted on November 25, 2014
14ymedio,ELVIRA FERNANDEZ, Ciego de Ávila, 21 November 2014 – Seven
years after Raul Castro, in a speech, criticized the spread of the
marabou weed, this thorny plant continues to gain prominence in our
fields. On that occasion, marking the 26th of July, the General said,
"Arriving here by land I was able to see if everything is green and
beautiful, but the most beautiful, which I could confirm with my own
eyes, was how beautiful the marabou weed is all along the entire
highway." Today he could repeat these identical words.
The invasion of what is scientifically known as Dichrostachys cinerea
has set off all the alarms. In the middle of the country, its dominion
extends across the planes that once served to cultivate cane, the
planting of vegetables, or the pasturing of cattle. Nothing is safe from
its dense thorny bushes that defy the most intrepid peasants.
Two months ago a troop of men was gathered in Ciego de Avila, armed with
rustic tools to fight the marabou weed. The new "Battle of the
Revolution" takes place in very fertile lands, but ones which have
suffered long neglect from their only owner: the State. Thus they now
are drowned under the thorns that have led to enormous weedy thickets.
Something more than 400 men, with axes and machetes in hand, have the
arduous mission as their charge. The objective is, that at the end of
2014, all the lands in the upcoming sowing plan will be ready for
planting cane. An undoubtedly difficult task, because of the 50,000
acres needed, 32,000 are greatly affected.
Leaders of the territory have promised that the campaign will be
recorded in history as "The Epic Against Marabou." They are unaware,
perhaps, of all previous attempts to eradicate a plant that was
introduced into our country in the mid-nineteenth century, a plant with
the great capacity to reproduce in our country's climate and natural
The only advantage of the undesirable marabou is its wood – very hard –
which is extremely suitable for firewood, as it burns well and creates
little smoke and ashes. However, its collection for these purposes
requires strict protection for the farmworker who may be subject to
frequent wounds and punctures.
The cost of any collection or eradication of marabou tends to be very
high. However, in the new battle against the plague, begun in the center
of the country, the savings to the State are guaranteed with the
sacrifice of the men who must sweat and bleed, with no right to expect
mechanical reinforcements. The directors of the Sugar Company Group have
clarified that "because of objective economic conditions we can't use
bulldozers in this confrontation."
Those who remember, recall that there was no lack of heavy equipment to
address other initiatives. Among them two campaigns that have indeed
been recorded in history for their disastrous consequences, while
opening the way to any plague that invaded the Cuban countryside. The
first of these was in the 1970s when the forests were bulldozed and
dynamited to sow sugarcane in abundance, with the intention of
satisfying the demand from Communist Europe. More recently, many of the
sugar mills were dismantled and exported piece by piece to the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the cane fields were left to the
mercy of the plagues.
The great results of such "socialist epics" — in addition to villages
and towns left lifeless, dead — is the health enjoyed by the marabou
weed. In their branches is concentrated our economic collapse, in the
abundance of their thorns is the result of the excessive nationalization
of our lands.
Source: The Nation or Marabou / 14ymedio, Elvira Fernandez | Translating